Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Archive for May, 2010

One thing I am struggling with in my ukulele learning are barre chords. As you already know if you’ve been following the blog, ukulele is my first instrument and as I am mostly learning on my own, things take much more time.

There is an overwhelming amount of things to learn and the time I can allocate to practising my uke is much less than I’d like. As a result, I often end up dismissing songs with chords I am not comfortable with so as to enjoy the time I spend on my uke rather than struggle and play a series of unsatisfactory sounds that are not exactly what you can call melodious.

My focus has also been on fingerstyle uke rather than strumming so far, thanks to the patient help of Herman via Skype.

However, I realised that avoiding difficulties was not a good solution when I met a ukulele friend of mine, Alex from the COULE,  at the Paris Ukulele Bazaar a few weeks ago, and we decided to strum a few songs in a park together to enjoy the sunny afternoon. He knew plenty of songs but most of them had barre chords and were too difficult for me to play at a correct pace.

I felt frustrated at my crappiness so I have now set myself the challenge to learn to master those @#!/|\!# (don’t ask me what language that word is in) barre chords before my next meeting with Alex, which gives me a few months to improve.

Here are some tutorials I have found on the subject and which I hope will help you too if you ever are in the same situation.

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Herman Vandecauter from Belgium has just composed a really nice piece for the ukulele called Instantanea.

Herman is a pro classical guitarist who has taken up the ukulele a little more than a year ago. He has proven his great musicianship by writing and arranging several pieces for the ukulele and has become a prominent contributor to the classical uke community.

Instantanea, composed and played on a Kiwaya tenor KTT 1 by Herman Vandecauter

Herman has also started …

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Time for another World Uke Tube !

This should brighten your day in case the weather is as dull where you are as it is here today. If it isn’t, please send some sunshine !

We’ll start with Portugal with the return of the Portuguese Ukulele Orchestra, Voodoo Marmalade, who will not fail to brighten the mood.


Voodoo Marmalade in a medley Clandestino (by multilinguistic Manu Chao) / Chiclete

And since they’ve been silent for quite a while

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Friend of the blog Bossarocker contacted me lately to inform me of a ukulele show she will be doing for the Chorlton Arts Radio and which will be broadcasting in association with the Chorlton Arts Festival between the 17th and the 30th of May 2010.

She would like to feature as many ukulele players as possible in many different styles of music and she needs support from all ukulele players out there who are willing to upload tracks for …

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If you have managed to survive the longest Finnish word, here is a poem in Hungarian by István Ferenczes which contains no less than a hundred and five ‘ ö ‘ sounds and which has been put to music by the band Fűszál Együttes.

There isn’t much information to be found on István Ferenczes at least not in languages that I understand. From what I could read he was born in 1945, he is a journalist and a poet and has lived in Transylvania all his life. The fact that he writes in Hungarian does suggest that he is among the Magyar population living in Transylvania, Romania but this is just a guess.

Lyrics of the song, called Mikor Csíkban járt a török can be found here in case you need to check the 105 ‘ ö ‘. As for understanding the lyrics, I’m afraid there is little sense to be made from automated translations. Török means Turkish and sör means beer, but that doesn’t really help, does it ?

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